Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone as UFC on FX 8 blew the roof off Arena Jaragua last Saturday night (May 18, 2013) in Santa Catarina, Brazil.
Many combatants were left licking their wounds after a wild night of fights including Chris Camozzi, who was forced to tap in the first round to submission wizard Ronaldo Souza (watch it here). And Evan Dunham, who many -- including Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White -- believe was robbed of a win over hometown boy Rafael dos Anjos (see the stats here).
The former Strikeforce middleweight champion stepped into the Octagon for the first time in his mixed martial arts (MMA) career to take on longtime UFC veteran Vitor Belfort, looking to obtain the same crossover success as his current American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) stablemates and fellow Strikeforce imports Daniel Cormier and Josh Thomson.
Mission not accomplished.
Luke, however, looked to be the aggressor early on, walking down Belfort and attempting to bring the fight to the heavy-handed Brazilian. Not connecting with any strikes, Rockhold never waivered, sticking to his gameplan of stalking his foe while looking for an opening.
It never came.
Belfort whiffed earlier in the bout with the same kick that would eventually bring him his second straight victory, but the second time proved to be a charm. He finished Rockhold off with a few strikes on the ground, but it was his improved kicking game -- which earned him his second consecutive head kick knockout -- that proved to be the moneymaker.
So, what went wrong for Rockhold?
Perhaps his overconfidence.
The former 185-pound champ was rather loquacious in the lead up to his main event scrap against "The Phenom." From labeling Belfort a cheater and questioning his manhood to predicting he would put him to sleep in front of his hometown crowd, Rockhold never eased up on the trash talk, something that wasn't in his nature during his time spent fighting under the Strikeforce banner.
Or, maybe it was, you just never heard much about it.
Not that there's anything wrong with a little pre-fight chatter, I mean, everyone does it. But, I personally never heard so much from him, and judging from fans' comments, people were getting a little fed up with it.
Perhaps it was his way of dealing with the very real UFC jitters.
But on the biggest and brightest MMA stage of them all, anytime you say something, you better believe it will be magnified and make the media rounds. And when facing a proven veteran such as Belfort, that trash talk only adds more fuel to the fire.
Sure, "The Count" is coming off a win over Alan Belcher and fighting someone coming off a devastating loss isn't necessarily the normal route to take. But, if he wants a faster path to a world title shot, a win over a recognizable and former champ like Luke will help him get there.
Plus, Rockhold wants to try and redeem himself sooner rather than later.
For more results, reactions, fallout and live play-by-play from last weekend's UFC on FX 8 event in Brazil, check out our comprehensive "Belfort vs. Rockhold" link dump by clicking here.